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Would you give an NQT KS5 work?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by dragonslayer33000, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. dragonslayer33000

    dragonslayer33000 New commenter

    Even if they have not receieved any training for it. I have a lots of bottom sets in my time table and i was just told that from next term i would be taking over btec course. I will be doing physics chem and biology aspect of it. Never had any training or experience and i feel i am going to let the students down because i was just given a text book and told off you go without even being told on the course specs or the things i would need to prep and assess the course.

    the teachers who were teaching the course have been let go and now i am going to take over. i feel so much under pressure. 6 exam classes plus btec now. please advise
  2. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    If their qualification is 11-18 then yes.
    agathamorse, steely1, Pomza and 2 others like this.
  3. GirlGremlin

    GirlGremlin Occasional commenter

    Ideally, no. But that's the way it's going at the moment :-(
    agathamorse and peter12171 like this.
  4. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    If you've trained as an 11-18 teacher, and have the academic qualifications to enable you to do so, then yes, you can and should be given KS5 experience in your NQT year. If you have a degree in your subject, then teaching it at KS5 shouldn't be an issue knowledge-wise, and you do need to get the experience sooner rather than later, as it does hinder your career prospects if you don't have experience at KS5.

    Rather than panicking, use your initiative. Over the holidays, get hold of the specs from the exam board (these will be freely available online) and read through them carefully in conjunction with looking at some past papers, mark schemes and examiner's reports (also freely available online) to help you gain familiarity with both the course content and how it is assessed. Using these along with the textbook you've been given should give you a fairly good starting point to build a SOW - try to plan out the first few weeks loosely, ready to show your HOD or line manager when you go back to school to see whether you're on the right track. You could also look on TES to see what resources are available from other schools and teachers for your course to help guide you.

    I started teaching KS5 in my NQT year - yes it is stressful because it's their future and you're terrified you'll mess it up, but you won't. You'll be fine. You just need to follow what the exam board says they want in their spec documents very closely, trust yourself and your own abilities, and ask for help if you're not sure. You might not do a perfect job - who among us does? - but we all have to start somewhere!
  5. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    @rachelsays is absolutely spot on - get the specification and the SOW and make a detailed schedule/plan. Ask your HOD to help with the first assignments/mock practice papers as they will have more experience in correct marking, etc.

    You can do it, but will need some help - that's the idea behind the NQT year! :)
  6. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    I wouldn't touch BTec Science with a barge pole if I had any choice at all. Generally speaking the students you get tend not to be academic or have a work ethic. Consequently getting the coursework from them is most stressful. You end up doing much more work than all of the students put together. Also the specs are just not detailed enough; it's nearly impossible to work out what they want. I can honestly say that the closest I ever came to a breakdown was over a BTec group. I feel your pain and I am sorry to be the bearer of such negativity but I feel I should be honest. If you are Physics or Chemistry you will walk into another job, move now. Biology trained, not so easy but there are opportunities if you are persistent. Go for an 11 -16, no chance of BTec as they don't count towards P8.
    PS KS5 A level; piece of cake in comparison.
  7. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    If your qualification is 11-18 I think it would be perfectly normal, although some schools might want to wait a year before they give KS5 to new staff, just to get a feel for them. And if your appointment was late last summer, then the timetable you have now, might have been as a result of them worrying who would teach those classes and they might well have created a timetable not quite what they'd want for an NQT.
    Now things have changed and you are being offered a chance to widen the scope of your NQT year. Presumably they have taken something away from you to allow for this? Presumably you still have a slightly lighter timetable than an "ordinary" teacher? Presumably you are still being given support by a qualified and effective mentor? If all these things are in place, embrace the KS5 stuff. It can be a joy to teach.
  8. sadscientist

    sadscientist Senior commenter

    Agree totally with this. Track down whoever is in charge of overall BTEC admin at your school (they'll be called the Quality Nominee) and insist they talk you through the assessment of BTECs if you haven't got previous experience with them.
    agathamorse and phlogiston like this.
  9. dragonslayer33000

    dragonslayer33000 New commenter

    I am getting nightmares from taking this over. I have seen the spec and it is so confusing and long winded. I only had ks3 and ks4 experience during my pgce. And as a biology specialist there are a level chem parts that i am going to be teaching.

    I just feel overwhelmed as i already have year 10 and year 11 classes and now this. Not to mention the bottom sets
  10. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Definitely use your initiative over the holidays. Also do a bit of research to see if there are any training courses about, or which other local schools are delivering the same course.
    Then request the training you think you need. If you can be specific ("there's a course in March") then that's more likely to get a response than "can I have some training?" If there's another local school delivering the training, see if you can make direct contact: "Mr X at Nexttown College would be happy to look at this with me if we could fund an afternoon off-timetable for him" (your time could come out of your NTQ time).
    Keep a record of the requests you make for training, especially if not granted. Also get a clear ruling on who is supporting you in delivering this course, if it's something your NQT mentor can't help with, and make sure you keep them posted with anything you're not sure of, or anything that is not going so well, so that they can't lay all the blame on you if the results aren't as hoped.
    yodaami2 likes this.
  11. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    I'm still doing some KS5 BTec. AQA teaching the chem and phys components for exam and coursework. I don't understand much of the Biology and would definitely not cope with that aspect as well. Mentally I am now prepared for how little the kids understand, how few meet deadlines and how much support they need. I've also got used to the fact that students who get a Pass in Science invariably get distinctions in the Business and IT BTecs! Go figure, but don't think too hard on it.
    Yes training; keep asking and if it's not satisfactory say so and ask for more. Training should NOT come from your NQT PPA.
    PS they are taking advantage of you; move.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  12. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It's a bit of a big ask, especially delivering A level depth in subjects that your degree didn't prepare you for.
    As others have said, make sure you get some support from more experienced colleagues..
    I enjoyed the L3 TEC science in my last few years. Some of the youngsters struggled a bit, some of them lacked work ethic and needed continual chasing to produce the assignments., but they were all nice kids who were polite and co-operative (while I was with them).
    I may be a little out of date with the BTEC and the rules, so check carefully.
    Start off by checking out how many units need delivery (particularly with year 13). Check which units are completed - a useful early task could be to get them to go through their folders and self assess what they've done and what they need to finish from before. I would set them a deadline (Feb half term?) for getting any backlog done and communicate this to parents, sixth form tutorial staff.
    I would then map out the units needed to complete the course choosing the units to match my skill set (particularly the first couple).
    I would then pick a single year 12 unit and a single year 13 topic (possibly the same for each). I found the assignments suggested by Edexcel seemed adequate for purpose so never wrote alternatives. Then sort out what you need to teach, what they need to learn by researching, what the key practicals are etc. I would then plan a rough sequence of lessons with some time devoted to them completing assignments while I went round checking progress, supporting learning and the like.
    You will probably need to develop your skills for persuading them to do the work, I did have some dreamily ambitious youngsters who had no idea of the investment of time, thought and energy needed to get a qualification "equivalent to" several A levels. I also had several youngsters get themselves to university on the back of the qualification they got, most of them subsequently graduated.
    You will need to develop task management skills and keep in your mind that Audrey is finishing biology while Bill needs to catch up a chemistry practical that he missed because he had maths on the day the rest of the class did it.
    Good luck.
    agathamorse and saluki like this.
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Given this is a new post for you and your first as an NQT, it is entirely normal to freak out a week or two before starting. You have been happily doing supply, with all the experience and fun of teaching, but none of the responsibility. Suddenly you have a whole heap of responsibility, for all kinds of unknown classes and are going to be teaching things which are new to you. Anyone would have nightmares. But that doesn't mean the school is doing anything wrong and it doesn't mean you won't have a fabulous time once you settle in to it. Something new is always daunting, but you are very likely to be fine.

    Maybe try and change your mindset from "Oh my flippin, flippin all things holy, I can't do this it's going to be a nightmare and I''m going to totally stuff up my career and the lives of a hundred teenagers!" To "Right. This is going to be a challenge, but I'm going to rise to it. The bottom sets are going to be lovely to teach and I'm lucky not to have the 'next to bottom' sets, because they are a right pain. I'm going to read every blog and book going about behaviour. I'm going to contact the HOD/exams officer/etc and get from them everything I think I need. Then I am going to spend next week planning fantastic lessons. I'm going in to look at my new classroom and organise it how I want and set out my stall. Any class that has been a pain before are going to get a huge shock and make a new start with me. I am going to succeed."

    No one will pay you to go in for a few days, but it is worth it for your sanity.

    PS don't give up after a couple of weeks either. I'm in my 20something year of teaching and spent the first fortnight in September driving home more or less in tears because I'd taken on something new and it was nightmarishly hard to get my head round. What all those years of experience told me was that it would get better and I would get the hang of it. You will as well. Took me half a term to feel I knew what was what and a few more weeks to relax enough to enjoy it. Don't try to rush things and don't beat yourself up over mistakes.
    Piranha, mothorchid, Flanks and 5 others like this.
  14. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    agathamorse, saluki and yodaami2 like this.
  15. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    I have always allocated KS5 to NQTs. Good for the NQTs in terms of development, and to be honest good for the Dept and NQT mentors in terms of development as well.
    Incidentally in my year as an NQT I was the only teacher of my subject so de facto HoD, and in those days reduced timetable and NQT mentors were unheard of!
  16. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    I have a PGCE post compulsory, so have always worked with NQTs who have taught KS5. I agree that there is nothing wrong with this in principle. However, your situation rings alarm bells with me as it is similar to a situation that a colleague of mine was in last year (not Science subjects). The consequences were very nasty for her, even though she was doing her best and my colleagues and I had to sort out the students, which meant that we were all overloaded. Have you asked to go on any new teacher training events that the exam boards host? I would asap if I were you as this will help you a lot.

    I also advise you to find someone else to work pronto as your situation does not sound good.
  17. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    To some extent as an NQT you are likely to freak out at a lot of things! It is also not uncommon for NQTs to complain that they don't get to teach KS5!

    I would just accept it, if it wasn't this throwing you for a loop it would have been something else, and at least this is teaching so it will help you develop your practice in all your other lessons as well.
  18. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Yes polite, no behaviour issues at all. So there is one very big positive.
  19. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    This is not the case for all KS5 students. It depends on where you work and what a particular cohort is like. My current FE students are fantastic but my colleagues and I have also worked with A-Level students who are extremely challenging.
    border_walker likes this.
  20. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I am PCET trained and taught A level as a student teacher. Not difficult. Btec students tend to be more challenging than A level. completion of coursework is a problem.
    ATfan likes this.

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